Sue met Dennis her first night in Key West. He was captain of a wine tasting, sunset sail tour , they got talking, she got his number, they went for a sail two nights later on his boat. She told me about the sail, I said I love to sail, and last night we both went out on his Catalina 42, sailing out of Key West Harbor, into the Gulf.
I admired his boat. “I sailed her to Venezuela,” he said.
“What did you do in Venezuela?” I asked.
He looked at me with a quizzical smile. “I was on a trip.”
Later, when we were underway, I said, “The way you looked at me when I asked what you did in Venezuela makes me think we have very different approaches to how we spend out time.” He laughed.
Dennis has been in Key West for 11 years. Before that he “practiced retirement, and was really good at it,” sailing through the Caribbean for a year and a half. Several years as a boat captain in Key West, then the trip to Venezuela, now back to being a ship captain. He owns a house in Key West but rents it. He lives on his boat.
“I’m practicing retirement soon myself,” I’d said and Dennis congratulated me. “I think you’re a good influence on Sue and me. We work too much.”
Later, with the mainsail and jib both full of wind, the turquoise water slipping by, the water slapping rhythmically against the hull, Dennis smiled and said, “This is the way life should be.”
I wanted to say, “This is the way life is, right now,” but I didn’t.
Later, he showed me a map on his GPS gizmo that had tracked every anchorage of his trip to Venezuela. The sweeping line of triangles was enticing, the path of a journey across the water.